Highlighted
Lugner
1 Copper

PowerEdge 2500 Power Issue

Jump to solution

Hello to the community!

I've recently acquired a PowerEdge 2500 from a friend of a friend, which came to me in a hardware-functional state. It needed reformatting, so i tried putting Ubuntu 11.04 on to begin usage as a web server.

This particular 2500 has two P3 1.4GHz CPUs, 1x6SCSI configuration with a few spare matching SCSI drives. 1GB of 133mhz SDRAM is installed for the moment.

It all went well, until I attempted to "test" the RAID functionality by just unplugging one of the SCSI drives. An alarm proceeded, as I was told to expect, but did not expect the recovery to take hours. Unfortunately, from here the story goes down hill!

I made a novice mistake of allowing the backup procedure continue while I was poking around in the Adaptec SCSI config utility. I unwittingly restarted the computer mid-recovery from the BIOS/SCSI utility. After the restart, I was prompted with a POST message, "No battery backup installed, do not enable writeback mode!" I had no idea what this meant, except that it wasn't good! I proceeded to shut down the server again to identify the problem. Sure enough, the power cord plugged into the backup power source had a short. Mind you, all this while the SCSI drive that was "tested" and swapped out hadn't finished its procedure.

After replacing the power cord with a new one, I booted back up and found the following symtoms:

  • Nothing posts to the monitor when booting (no video)
  • The CD/DVD drive refuses to open/no power
  • SCSI drives all flash once when booting, only to turn off and remain off thereafter
  • The power button's in-built LED no longer lights up when powered on (it definitely used to)
  • The "dell monitor" LED above power button remains on, no blinking

All three pluggable power supplies are on with lights indicating they function properly. In back, I have one solid LED and another blinking green, as I've read is proper.

I don't know where to look first, or how to verify my suspicions. The user guide/documents related to this server aren't very helpful in the way of problems of this type. 

What am I looking at replacing? Is there a process to piecewise-testing for my scenario?  Should I install a video card? How about a way to somehow "reset" the settings of my hardware to defaults?

I know this is an old server out of warranty, but it is sufficient for my purposes. I would certainly like to salvage this any way I can.

Any advice or recommendations will help. I am comfortable with opening computers and replacing parts, and have a lot of experience troubleshooting "regular" computers. Much appreciation in advance!

0 Kudos
1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
8 Krypton

Re: PowerEdge 2500 Power Issue

Jump to solution

First, a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • The "battery backup" message was not about the power source that the server is plugged into ... it is talking about the RAID battery, which is battery backup for the RAID cache (single stick of memory) - cache stores writes in memory rather than writing directly to the disk to optimize writes and improve performance - in the event the server loses power, the battery keeps these writes that have not yet been committed to disk alive in the memory, so when the system regains power, the writes can be committed to disk, thus preventing that data from being lost.
  • It is completely safe to power off and/or reboot during a "rebuild" (not called "recovery" or "backup") ... the controller keeps track of where the rebuild is and simply resumes upon reboot.
  • Servers do not support video cards, so it is likely that you will have a hard time finding one that actually works, as it is very hit/miss.

I would start by reseating all the RAID components - RAID memory, RAID key, and RAID battery, and check the RAID battery for bulging (means its bad):

<ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>


http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/pe2500/en/sm/remove.htm#raid

After that, try clearing the NVRAM using the jumpers on the motherboard - this will clear the BIOS of any corruption in its hardware list.  You will need to go into BIOS Setup (F2) to re-enable RAID.  You may see a scary message about data loss - it doesn't sound like that would be a big deal to you at this point, but just ignore the message and accept the change as there will be no data loss because of the change from SCSI [back] to RAID:

<ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>

If that doesn't work, then I would recommend removing all non-essential hardware and seeing if it will boot to BIOS in a minimal configuration.  Even try removing all RAID components for this test.

Then, if that doesn't work, I would remove the second processor (if two are installed) and reseat the first - swap the first with the second if still no luck.

At this point, if it still is not working, there is a very good chance that your motherboard will need replacing.

 

6 Replies
8 Krypton

Re: PowerEdge 2500 Power Issue

Jump to solution

First, a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • The "battery backup" message was not about the power source that the server is plugged into ... it is talking about the RAID battery, which is battery backup for the RAID cache (single stick of memory) - cache stores writes in memory rather than writing directly to the disk to optimize writes and improve performance - in the event the server loses power, the battery keeps these writes that have not yet been committed to disk alive in the memory, so when the system regains power, the writes can be committed to disk, thus preventing that data from being lost.
  • It is completely safe to power off and/or reboot during a "rebuild" (not called "recovery" or "backup") ... the controller keeps track of where the rebuild is and simply resumes upon reboot.
  • Servers do not support video cards, so it is likely that you will have a hard time finding one that actually works, as it is very hit/miss.

I would start by reseating all the RAID components - RAID memory, RAID key, and RAID battery, and check the RAID battery for bulging (means its bad):

<ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>


http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/pe2500/en/sm/remove.htm#raid

After that, try clearing the NVRAM using the jumpers on the motherboard - this will clear the BIOS of any corruption in its hardware list.  You will need to go into BIOS Setup (F2) to re-enable RAID.  You may see a scary message about data loss - it doesn't sound like that would be a big deal to you at this point, but just ignore the message and accept the change as there will be no data loss because of the change from SCSI [back] to RAID:

<ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed from this post by Dell>

If that doesn't work, then I would recommend removing all non-essential hardware and seeing if it will boot to BIOS in a minimal configuration.  Even try removing all RAID components for this test.

Then, if that doesn't work, I would remove the second processor (if two are installed) and reseat the first - swap the first with the second if still no luck.

At this point, if it still is not working, there is a very good chance that your motherboard will need replacing.

 

Lugner
1 Copper

Re: PowerEdge 2500 Power Issue

Jump to solution

Thank you for your thorough response!

It has helped me nail-down a lot of the pieces of the documentation for my machine, and now I have a better idea of what my machine is actually configured to do!

There is no RAID configured in this board. No RAID DIMM, no RAID battery or RAID key. I was confusing one of the two VRMs with the RAID key. Live and learn!

It has tape drive SCSI expansion cards in slots 1 and 2. There's a cable labeled "CONTROLLER" connecting to the SCSI backplane. I'm not sure if these are vital, however I've tried with and without these cards. I've also tried booting with and without the drives connected to the backplane. I know nothing about tape drives.

The NVRAM jumper is on right now until(if) I get it to boot with video.

There is no daughter SCSI expansion install if that makes a difference in finding the problem from here. I would hope none of the expansion cards or backplane itself are damaged.

As for the CPUs, I have not yet tried them. I was wondering if I should remove the VRMs when trying to boot with a single processor?

Sorry for misdirecting the prognosis!

 

Also, I used an installation CD of the OS to change out the bootloader. Could it be a bootloader issue? The drives won't spin up, but this may just be a sign it doesn't get that far in the boot process?

0 Kudos
8 Krypton

Re: PowerEdge 2500 Power Issue

Jump to solution

Yes, the VRM's for any removed processors should also be removed.  Good luck.

0 Kudos
Lugner
1 Copper

Re: PowerEdge 2500 Power Issue

Jump to solution

Reseating/swapping Processor 1 and Processor 2 did not work.

One more thing to make sure!

This system was configured with 2 external SCSI tape-drive expansion cards. There was a SCSI cable running from SCSI-A to one of these two expansion cards. Aside from the proprietary connector from the motherboard to SCSI backplane, no other SCSI cables were attached the motherboard. To route SCSI back to the motherboard I connect the backplane SCSI-A directly to the SCSI-A connector on the motherboard, correct?

I'm officially in the market for a replacement motherboard. emoticon.Geeked.title

0 Kudos
Lugner
1 Copper

Re: PowerEdge 2500 Power Issue

Jump to solution

The server is up an booting again, thanks to a replacement motherboard as the first post suggested.

I just figured I'd update anyone that has a motherboard related issue with things not working, hopefully this thread will now give them some general guidance for troubleshooting.

I found a great deal on the system board, including some extra parts that were sold as a part of the auction! 4x512MB DIMMs, a RAID key and RAID DIMM. Soon I will reinstall the previous 2x1.4GHz processors instead of the 2x1.0GHz processors the new board shipped with.

This will in effect be an upgrade to my machine, now having 3GB total system RAM and the board's RAID capabilities. All for $14 dollars+shipping.

Happy day! Thanks to theflash1932!

0 Kudos
8 Krypton

Re: PowerEdge 2500 Power Issue

Jump to solution

Wow, that is a great deal ... good luck!

0 Kudos